Designing our first game – COUNTERBLAST™
Peril. It is the conflict that exists in any story that doesn’t even require a villain or adversary to your hero. Peril can come in the form of environmental hazards, natural forces or threats of disaster. Peril is essential to any good pulp adventure story and pulp adventure is at the heart of the COUNTERBLAST setting.
The epic science fiction and adventure movies I enjoyed when growing up during the ’70s and ’80s owed its inspiration to a prior age. Adventure serials, both in print and in cinema, established a lot of storytelling conventions that have been instrumental in the legacy of post-modern pop culture we enjoy today. At the time I was of age to really discover the heritage of many of these sources I didn’t really appreciate the relevance. It wasn’t until I began to research the original material several years ago that I began to truly appreciate the rich details and the extent to which this material has provided inspiration.
I discovered that weapons like the Electrostaff used by the Magna Guard on the Clone Wars cartoon appeared in an episode of one of the Flash Gordon serials. In the episode mechanical men attack Flash and his crew with halberds that give off sparks provided by well-placed scratches on the original film.
Transporters like on the starship Enterprise make an appearance in the Buck Rogers serial from 1934. Through a clever use of cinematic editing. the cast fades into the teleport chamber and is enhanced with animated glowing effects superimposed over the image.
The term Blasters and epic space battles appear in the fantastic Lensman books by E.E. Smith published in the 1930s. I could cite many more and you have probably heard of more than I have.
The setting is inspired by pulp sci-fi in as much as films like Alien and Prometheus are upgraded versions of It! The Terror from Beyond Space. We decided to go back to the original material and revisit it for COUNTERBLAST and upgrade it. If you are looking for battles in the grim darkness of the far future where there is only war, there is another sector of space for that. If you want full metal battles with steam powered behemoths, there is another setting for that already. What we wanted to build was a future past that never was but was always hoped for. COUNTERBLAST is a setting of classic pulp sci-fi adventure, fast paced action with cinematic thrills, evocative of the serials that captivated the imaginations of the generation before.
So, grab your particle beam cannons, set your puslar rays on disintegrate, and blast off to the ether in your ultonium-powered rocketship. Battle strange creatures with ancient and wicked artifacts bent on destroying all peace-loving species of the galaxy. Explore far flung worlds with undiscovered alien ruins containing hidden secrets of lost civilizations. The COUNTERBLAST Adventure Battle Game takes you there!
– Patrick Keith